What to Know About Extracurriculars in Law School Admissions
Your extracurricular activities matter when it comes to law school. Some experts say extracurricular activities may matter even more than factors, such as work experience.
“Extracurricular activities are typically less important than grades and LSAT scores, but they can be more important than other ‘soft’ factors,” Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach, says. “Law schools vary in the weight they put on various admissions factors, but an impressive extracurricular record can be more meaningful than work experience, letters of recommendation, or the college you attended.”
Kuris recently explained the role that extracurricular activities play in law school admissions and what activities stand out the most to admissions officers.
“[Extracurricular activities] reflect your interests and show a commitment to a community or discipline beyond yourself,” Kuris says. “That’s true whether you volunteer for a political campaign, join a sports team or practice a demanding art.”
HIGHLIGHT SERVICES ACTIVITIES
If there’s any extracurricular activity you should highlight, it’s community service. Kuris says many law schools require students to complete a minimum number of pro bono hours, so having service activities under your belt is a good sign.
“Community service – from volunteering in a religious institution to tutoring underserved students to providing free tax advice – is a great way to show that serving others comes naturally to you,” Kuris says. “It may also help lead you to causes you feel strongly about and which you may find a way to serve in law school and beyond.”
FOCUS ON TIME COMMITMENTS
Generally speaking, you’ll want to consider only activities where you’ve demonstrated substantial time commitment.
“Law school and legal practice both require discipline, time management and the grit to pursue long-term goals,” Kuris says. “Personal practices can reveal such qualities, even those wholly unrelated to law. Admissions officers fondly recall reading fascinating personal statements from performing artists or athletes who make the case that their pursuit of excellence shaped their character in positive ways.”